Charter change is not a priority of the House of Representatives under the present leadership, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday.
He said as far as the chamber was concerned, there were other priority legislation and more pressing concerns that lawmakers had to attend to than reviewing the 1987 Constitution, such as the coronavirus scare, the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the renewal of ABS CBN’s franchise among others.
“We postponed deliberations because there are more pressing controversial issues. It’s hard to reach a good decision in an emotional setting like now. There are too many hotheads. The cooler heads will be out-talked,” Cayetano said.
He said postponing the discussions on Charter change would give lawmakers enough time to study thoroughly the proposed amendments to the Charter.
“I want to get things done by consensus. I don’t believe that pressuring the chamber and its members is necessary to have the Charter change bill passed. Young legislators have to be persuaded rather than pressured, and that is the style now, which is better,” Cayetano said.
Last Wednesday, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, led by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, prepared the final draft of the proposed Charter change.
Rodriguez’s committee is pushing for the approval of the bill despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s and Congress’ loss of interest in the measure.
“Everyone would like to have their own position and we cannot stop our own members from expressing their views on each and every section amendments that the Inter-agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform has given. We don’t want to rush this because precisely haste makes waste. What you will do is try to really have them discuss all the provisions that are proposed by the IATF,” Rodriguez said.
The committee will attempt to pass the bill next week, said Rodriguez.